A car accident can be a traumatic experience that not only affects you physically, but mentally as well. If you have been the victim of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for not only your physical injuries, but also for your emotional suffering. If you are injured you may be compensated for pain and suffering in addition to any economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) related to your injuries.
Mental and Emotional Suffering and Colorado Law
Damages for emotional distress (or “pain and suffering”) in a personal injury case are intended to compensate you for the psychological impact your injury has had on your day-to-day life, as opposed to your bodily injuries. Mental and emotional injuries can range from mental and emotional anguish, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, or shock, to more severe mental and emotional injuries such as acute stress reaction or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In the early 1900s, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that damages for pain and resulting mental suffering are recoverable in a personal injury action. This of course applies to auto accidents. Additionally, even if damages for emotional distress cannot be definitely measured, it will not prevent a person from financial recovery.
How to Prove Emotional Suffering
The most effective way of proving mild mental or emotional suffering is from your own testimony. Mild emotional distress may not require professional treatment, and those suffering from it usually choose not to seek treatment. However, more severe mental and emotional injuries indicate a medical issue, and must be proved with medical testimony. For example, you could not testify that you were suffering from something like PTSD; you would need your health care provider to testify to your diagnosis in that situation.
How to Document Emotional Distress
It is important that you document your emotional distress. You will need to seek medical treatment to ascertain if there is a medical diagnosis. Additionally, it is important that you have medical documentation of any emotional suffering, as that can be extremely helpful in both a lawsuit and insurance claim. It’s also recommended that you keep a daily journal or diary to jot down how you are feeling and how your injuries are affecting you, both physically and emotionally.
How Emotional Suffering Affects Your Damages in an Auto Accident Claim
Claims for mental and emotional suffering may not greatly increase the damages you receive from a car accident, but they will play apart, as they are recoverable damages. The more severe the physical injury from the accident, the more likely you can get compensated for emotional distress. It is important to have an experienced auto accident attorney on your side to help ensure you receive all the compensation you are due.